It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations, forgetting that you have needs, too. Between my job, kids, husband, pets, and blog, I find myself steaming along at an alarming rate at times with no cause to pause. The body, however, has other ideas. If you won’t listen to its whispered warnings, it will find another way to get your attention, usually in a manner you’d rather not endure.
Last week was a bit too hectic. #BrunchWeek, as much as I loved it, brought on a slew of daily promotion at a more feverish pace than usual. Add to that 4 nights of going to bed at 1:30 AM, only to awaken at 6 AM, and a night out with my husband checking out a new band and the next thing you know, my shoulder is screaming in defiance and the muscle spasms in my leg and ankle are practically preventing me from walking. Enough is enough. The body will be ignored no longer.
I have a bad history of pushing aside my problems until they cannot be ignored anymore. Even when the shoulder issue presented itself, instead of attacking it right away, I began internet research. I can see it now: someday, I’ll have a heart attack and instead of calling 911, I’ll be on google trying to see what else my symptoms could signal, convincing myself it’s nothing more than a bad lunch or lack of sleep that’s the cause. It’s ridiculous how much I’ll minimize my own needs! When I decided that I wasn’t, in fact, dying (it was my left arm, after all), I signed up at my favorite wellness center–A Healing Trail–for the next available appointment.
Massage therapy isn’t new to me. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I started having sciatica issues. The pinched nerve would crop up from time to time, but a massage or three would work it out and then I’d return to my routine. I love massage, but with a tight budget, it’s been too much of an extravagance to indulge in regularly, even if it’s helped my health. Sadly, when I signed in to the online scheduling website, I discovered it had been 3 years since my last rub down. Years full of post-surgery pain that could have been addressed without popping pills. Ridiculous!
Given my need for immediate care, I saw a new massage therapist this time–the owner of the facility. She was kind and considerate, running at a much slower pace than my frantic one. When she asked what was wrong, I rattled off a litany of issues so fast, I’m surprised her head didn’t spin. Then she asked how much water I had been drinking. I answered her honestly–I knew they recommended being well-hydrated before massage therapy, and I knew I was nowhere near that. My sheepish answer of “a couple cups so far” was given with the expectation of receiving harsh judgment, but she gave me the gift of education instead. I’ll admit that I was a little impatient at first when she discussed the function of water in the body–I only had a half hour for my appointment, after all, and I wanted to make the most of it–but I began to see the point, and understood that she was trying to help me, not lecture me. Water is essential. And if you don’t drink enough of it, the body will act out. Those muscle spasms I suffer from? They’d likely be lessened by a proper intake of water every day. And no, I wouldn’t have to take up residence next to the toilet to achieve that. In time, my body would adjust.
She left and it was time for me to strip down. In retrospect, I’m amazed at how easily I did this, given she was a new therapist for me and I can’t even pick out a new doctor because of how hard it is for me to trust new people. (A whole other long story with insurance changes being the catalyst… needless to say, I haven’t seen my PCP in quite a few years, another error I must remedy soon.) Still, I climbed up on the table, covered myself up, and let the warmth wash over me. I closed my eyes, desperate for relaxation to come. Funny thing about that–you cannot will it to happen. And with a busy mind, it’s frustratingly elusive.
The massage therapist returned and got to work. She explained how I could help relieve some of the tension at home, especially in the muscles around my shoulder blade, where they are in a horrible knotted mess. She stressed how important it was to work both sides, as tension on one side could be pulling the other, knocking the body out of whack.
My mind refused to empty and I kept worrying there wasn’t enough time. Still, the kneading and prodding felt fantastic, albeit a bit painful in the tight areas. The next thing I knew, 30 minutes had passed and she had touched on far more than I thought possible in the time frame allotted.
I didn’t jump off the table ready to leap over small buildings, but there was a definite improvement. One that, in order to continue progressing, will require more care. Stretching. Drinking plenty of water–half my body weight in ounces, every day!! Moving. And coming back in 2 weeks for more kneading. Because I need it. Badly.
I put myself last all the time, but this time, I need to do this. I need it for my well-being, both of body and mind. To renew my spirit, to help me get back on track with my fitness goals–derailed time and time again by pain–and to assist me in refocusing and growing. It’s time to be good to myself. It’s time to take care of myself. Because if I don’t, nobody else will.
How are you good to yourself? What do you do to love your body, mind, and spirit?